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Janet McCanless column: Watch out for that car

Like all drivers, I have occasionally fussed and cussed other drivers I think aren’t doing it right, or driving too fast, whatever, but our North Carolina drivers in no way resemble the stuff going on on the streets of Chicago !
Just recently I was in the windy city and points north, doing some book promoting and visiting, and as my niece and I were tooling along the streets of suburban Chicago, out of nowhere came two motorcycles , obviously racing. In and out they zoomed, weaving through the traffic; they raced right through two redlights and caused a great commotion. Never saw anything like it, as they were going, at the very least, 80 miles an hour in a 45 mile zone. What was even more amazing was that we were the only ones who seemed the least bit concerned about it.
I think it does one good every so often to visit other parts of the country and get a good dose of culture shock. My sojourn up to the north woods and the midwest was enjoyable, but honestly, somebody needs to tell those folks how to cook ó nary a hush puppy in sight! Not only that, they eat lots of boiled fish at something they call a fish boil, and in place of grits on your breakfast plate you get hashbrowns. I made the mistake of asking for unsweetened tea, before I realized that all the iced tea is unsweetened; you’ve got to put your own sweetener in it. And, there is such a thing as brats; midwesterners seem to eat them all the time, and you would not believe the things they pile on them!
Well, of course, I am speaking with tongue planted firmly in cheek here, but it can be fun to enjoy the different foods and customs of another part of the country. Lots of times though, northerners speak very fast, and it’s hard to grasp exactly what is being said, but then again, many of them thought I was hard to understand.
Once before, I had mentioned in my column about the casket store I once spied in Chicago as my cousin and I were driving to a restaurant one evening. Now that is an interesting sight, folks, window-shopping for a casket, and the store displayed them right there, in the front window for all to see. You’ve got to wonder though, where would you put it until you needed it? Use it as a coffee table? What if you found a cheaper or nicer one in the next blockl could you get a refund? My niece told me that only I would think of these things.
Lake Michigan is beautiful and awesome; however, I much prefer the green of our Atlantic ocean and the beaches of our coast. It was good to get away and enjoy the great north woods ó the people of the midwest are just as friendly as my Southern neighbors. The food was good, although I am still wishing they would do hush puppies, and they most definitely need a Cheerwine slushy machine on every corner! It’s more than wonderful to be back home, but I simply can’t get the image of a casket coffee table out of my mind.
Perhaps it would be better to think of it as long, fancy tool box. I’ll contemplate that for a while as I enjoy my slushy.
Janet McCanless lives in Rowan County.

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